15 Non-Touristy Activities Every Solo Traveller Must Do in Rome
Debating over whether to pick touristy or non-touristy activities while travelling alone in Rome? Well, when in Rome, it’s hard to stick to one. So, once you are touring touristy locations like the Colosseum, Vatican City, Pantheon, etc., it is time to experience the non-touristy activities in Rome, Italy.
In this blog, I will help you keep an ear to the ground about all the alternate activities in Rome. From hidden gems in Rome to local experiences, the list of non-touristy activities in the city of permanence is endless.
Andiamo, let’s scan through the 15 non-touristy activities every solo traveller must do in Rome (at least once).
1. Explore the circular church – Santo Stefano Rotondo.
If you are done exploring the usual Roman churches (oh yes, the city is full of churches), check out the 5th-century AD circular church – Santo Stefano Rotondo, on the Caelian Hill.
Although it is within walking distance of the Colosseum, it is far from the tourist’s radar. You can walk to the ruins of Nero’s aqueduct, a branch of the Claudio aqueduct. Then turn to your left to reach one of the architectural wonders of Rome.
It will take you around two hours to witness the artistic interior, which consists of 34 unbelievable frescos (recently renovated). The frescos contain brutal sights of the persecution of Christians by the Romans. So be prepared!
2. Witness the lesser-seen sight of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica from Via Niccolo Piccolomini.
To give a twist to exploring St. Peter’s Basilica and have a non-touristy experience in Rome, head to the street – Niccolo Piccolomini. It is in the neighbourhood of Aurelio.
Niccolo Piccolomini provides spectators with a spectacular view of the St. Peter’s Dome. A game of illusion and a play on perspective awaits you on the street. The closer you get to the dome, the smaller it appears in dimension and vice versa.
You can either drive a car, ride a scooter or walk up the street to witness this phenomenon. The nearest metro station to Via Niccolo Piccolomini is Baldo degli Ubaldi.
3. Get curious at Passetto di Borgo.
Does the secret passageway in Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons or the Tom Cruise starrer – Mission Impossible 3 fascinate you? If yes, a visit to Passetto di Borgo is a must in Rome.
Passetto di Borgo is the escape route of the Popes, and it connects Vatican City to the Castel Sant’Angelo. It is open for tourists after recent renovations and a perfect non-touristy thing to do in Rome alone.
4. Treat your artistic soul in the Palazzo Barberini.
Exhausted by tiring queues and crowds at the museums of Rome? Then, Palazzo Barberini is the alternative you have been looking for. It will take you about an hour to traverse through the art gallery.
The tickets to this Palazzo include a visit to the Galleria Corsini. And it should not cost you over 15 Euros. The place remains open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm.
5. Visit the Quartiere Coppedè on your solo travel to Rome.
On your non-touristy explorations in Rome, quickly stop by the little corner – Quartiere Coppedè. Far from the maddening crowd of the city centre, this corner lies in the Trieste district.
Its whimsical architecture is what grabs the attention of every traveller. If you have a knack for architecture, you would not want to miss out. It is the melting pot of several forms of architecture. And check out the Fairy Houses, Fountain of the Frogs, Coppedè Archway, etc.
6. Opt for a time travel at Le Terme di Caracalla.
One of the popular yet non-touristy things to do in Rome is to pay a visit to the Baths of Caracalla (Le Terme di Caracalla). Back then, it was the place for socialisation in the city, and now, it hosts several events throughout the summer.
So if you are in Rome in the summer, arrange a ticket to one of the events for an unforgettable experience. You can reach the Baths of Caracalla easily as it is well-connected to the city. Take the metro line B to Circo Massimo stop or opt for the bus routes.
7. Walk down Via Appia Antica
The Appian Way, or Via Appia Antica, is the oldest connector of Rome and the Campania region – Naples. Travellers often tend to overlook this road, but you should not! Here’s why – besides having historical significance, the road has many non-touristy activities to indulge in.
- Firstly, start your self-tour from the Porta San Sebastiano.
- Then, explore the footsteps of Jesus at the Domine Quo Vadis church.
- Further on this road, you will come across several catacombs. Make sure to explore the catacomb of San Callisto and San Sebastian.
- If you have time in hand, go the extra mile. The Cecilia Metella and Villa Quintili are a sight to behold. But, remember, both these places are closed on Mondays.
8. Spend a day exploring Trastevere.
If you truly want to live the saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” – allot a day to Trastevere. It is the non-chaotic and non-touristy neighbourhood of Rome. And, unarguably, my favourite so far!
Trastevere has everything from authentic Roman spirits to a modern and trendy vibe. To discover the rare gems of Rome, pre-plan your time in the district.
You can step inside the Santa Maria Maggiore in the morning and admire the mosaics. After that, discover some cute cafés of Rome along the cobbled street for a meal. Later, you can explore the ancient Pharmacy of Santa Maria della Scala, Corsini Gallery, and the Botanical Garden.
And, last but not least – call it a day by being a part of the lively nightlife of the neighbourhood.
9. Climb up the underrated Roman hill – the Janiculum Hill.
Continue your strike of doing non-touristy activities in Rome with a hike up the Janiculum Hill. The hike is easy and short and rewards you with one of the best panoramic views of Rome. However, you may not be able to view the entire city from one spot. So, walk around a bit to find your ideal relaxing spot and unwind amidst nature.
10. Surprise your eyes with the street art of Rome.
Rome, in particular, is more like an open-air museum. For a non-touristy experience in the city, walk through the neighbourhoods of Rome. And, without a doubt, the city’s walls will catch your eye.
The artistic murals and graffiti are across all the districts. You can start your walk from the den of street art in Rome – Ostiense, the first place in Rome to make street art legal.
Get a glimpse of the Jumping Wolf on Via Galvani and the mural by Blu on Porto Fluviale. It’s hard to move eyes away from them. You can also explore the street arts in San Lorenzo, Garbatella, Pigneto, Quadraro, and Tor Marancia.
Oh, and remember to click some cool and funky shots for your Instagram!
11. Bike through the Roman park – Parco degli Acquedotti
Biking through the Parco degli Acquedotti is hands down the best activity to do alone in Rome. This Roman Park, with its greenery, sets you up for a memorable experience in the historic city.
You can go for a guided bike tour to witness the historical sites of the Aqueducts, ruins of the Vignacce Villa, and Casale di Torrevecchia. Apart from that, you can also engage yourself in a walking or running tour. To reach the park, hop on a metro on Line A and get down at Lucio Sestio or Subaugusta.
12. Discover what Roman street food means!
Feast on the fried food at Antica Friggitoria La Masardona Roma to satiate the rats jumping in your stomach. And boy, it’s hard to stop once you start stuffing your mouth with the delicacies. The food at Friggitoria is cheap, fast, and tasty!
Test taste the fried artichokes, zucchini flowers, cod fillets, and Suppli – the fried rice balls, the favourite of every Roman. Talking about food in Rome, Pizza al taglio is a must-try street food dish.
13. Dive into the local markets of Rome
A trip to Rome is incomplete without exploring its markets. While there are many markets in the city, you must include these three local markets.
The Trionfale market for the best food experience in Rome, Mercato della Citta Ecosolidale for a leisure shopping venture, and Porta Portese market, the best flea market in Rome for everything, from food and fashion to souvenirs.
A Tip: Talk with your hands with the locals for better communication and bargaining.
14. Go on a day trip to Tivoli from Rome.
If you are in Rome for more than three days, plan a day trip to Tivoli from the city, which is approximately 27 km from the city centre.
This village is home to two UNESCO World Heritage sites – Hadrian’s Villa and Villa d’Este. On your trip from Rome, you can also explore Rocca Pia, the Temple of Vesta, Villa Gregoriana, etc.
15. Experience Rome with the locals
Pick a local guide for the ultimate non-touristy experience in Rome. They know the best about the city’s hidden gems and activities and make it easy for you to converse and make your way in the city.
You can check for local guides online on websites like Withlocals.
A Tip: Visit the usual touristy locations in the early morning to avoid the crowd!
With that, we have come to the end of the blog. I know one lifetime is not enough to explore these marvels! That said, prepare a rough itinerary for a non-touristy time in Rome, Italy.
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.